The ethics of cultural ties


The recent controversy on the drama and film artists belonging to Pakistan has left the entertainment world split into two parts. People belonging to the bigger part are mostly of the opinion that Pakistani artists should be banned and the relatively smaller part put forth the argument that these artists should allow to continue their endeavors. The social and the political advocates are mostly on the former side and the latter part is sparingly inhabited by handful of so-called peace loving people or the cohorts.

With the recent attack on Indian soldiers at Uri followed by India’s surgical strike along the LoC had made the issue more blistering. The surge of hatred towards Pakistan had shown its side effects on these artists with few political parties giving ultimatum to these artists to pack their bags. Fearing trouble, most of them left but the debate still remained. No one could reach to a clear consensus whether these artists need to be banned or not? Are they in some way related or responsible for the attack on the Indian soldiers? Why India need to put up a moderate face when the counterpart is vomiting venom and attacking India? Why India should always encourage the one-sided cultural ties when Pakistan is not taking it seriously?

It is said that none of these artists has condemned the attack on Indian soldiers. Do we have the dearth of good artists? Do Indian entertainment world encourage these artists because of its business interests? There are many questions and many versions of answers to these, but none of these are complete enough to reach to a conclusion. Many TV channels have hosted marathon debates on this topic. There are streams of views flowing on this and most of the Indians are aligning themselves to one or the other. What does a common Indian expect?

Firstly, any terrorists attack should be criticized. Artists are generally considered role model for common people and they expect their role model to speak up and provide their views. The same is applicable in the case of Pakistani artists and they should have condemned the attack. Why do they assume that condemning the attack is equivalent to condemning Pakistan? Were they so sure that the attackers were Pakistanis? Secondly, a terrorist attack is a terrorist attack. Period. Everyone knows that terrorists do not have any religion. Then, where is the soft corner? Thirdly, these were killings involved. When there was terrorists attack in a school in Pakistan few years back, the entire India and the world burst into tears.  Does humanity allow killings? Everyone should condemn it. Further, one need not go to the media and read out a speech. One line of expression on Twitter or Facebook is more than enough.

India has a good history of Pakistani artists coming to Indian entertainment world and enriching it. Ghulam Ali, Nazia Hassan, Salma Agha etc. were all accepted and appreciated with open hearts. People never knew, they were from a different country until it was mentioned explicitly. Pakistani plays were equally popular in India and currently there are many serials which have high viewership in India. Indian movies are also hugely popular in Pakistan. The list is endless and a detailed reading would develop more and more attraction towards the Indo-Pak friendship. Though, such examples are rare in Pakistan, it is not worth complaining.

There are various artists from many other countries who have made memorable impact in the entertainment and social world. Personalities Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama have become icons to the people of entire world. Runa Laila from Bangladesh and various other artists from Russia, Britain, Nepal, Sri Lanka and other countries have made their mark in their respective fields.

To put it in a nutshell, the bilateral cultural ties are more important to Pakistan than to India. Hence there need to be an increasing effort or push required from the Pakistan side to keep the flow continuing. Small gestures from these artists can maintain their position towards humanity clear. As far as India is concerned all humans having faith in humanity are welcome with due procedures followed as laid by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). A tourist should remain a tourist and an artist with valid work permit a temporary citizen of India. We cannot hurt the sentiments of the people of the place that provides bread and butter to us. Every sovereign country follows these ethics and principles. And, when the need be, MEA will stop issuing visas to the people of that country which India does not want to maintain relations with. Till that time, when the doors of our country are not closed to the people of a particular country, all are welcome.

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